Less Is More… Especially after brain surgery.

Less Is More Blog

It’s been a while since I have posted here. Mostly because I have been busy dealing with work, but also because I have been busy dealing with a brain tumor. I am one of the lucky ones though. It wasn’t cancer, and here I am after surgery, still alive.

I had surgery about one month ago, and am taking my recovery one day at a time. I have taken time off of work, but it has certainly been on my mind. I’ll need to come back slowly but there has been a bit of a benefit to all of this. It is more natural now for me to focus on a single item instead of succumbing to the desire to multitask because my brain simply demands it.

I don’t see this as a problem though. I know that if I needed to, I could still deal with a dozen things at once, but I see this as a new beginning; an opportunity to really truly embrace the idea of Less Is More. If not now, when?

I won’t be getting back to work for another month or so. For now, I am focused on the basics of recovering from a difficult brain surgery. But stay posted as I begin my journey back into the workforce, with a newfound passion for simplifying and improving my work practices.

At the intersection of multi and potentialite.

As a child, I never felt limited in what I could be when I grew up. I never felt like I had to choose, but I also never felt like I had one true calling. And because of that, I often felt like there was something wrong with me, or that I was somehow lacking focus.

Not so, says Emilie Wapnick in her TED Talk, Why some of us don’t have one true calling.

“It’s easy to see your multipotentiality as a limitation or an affliction that you need to overcome. [But] There’s nothing wrong with you. What you are is a multipotentialite.

She reminds people like me — people who have many interests and creative pursuits, people with an eclectic mix of skills and experiences — that we should embrace our many passions, explore our intersections, and follow our curiosity down those rabbit holes. Wapnick also happens to mention a few superpowers that she believes multipotentialites have to offer the world: idea synthesis, rapid learning, and adaptibility.

Wapnik goes on to note that some of the best teams are comprised of a specialist and multipotentialite paired together.

The specialist can dive in deep and implement ideas, while the multipotentialite brings a breadth of knowledge to the project. It’s a beautiful partnership.”

In the same way an extrovert can complement an introvert, it’s all about balance, awareness, simplicity, and mindfulness. Think you might be a multipotentialite? Head over to Emilie Wapnick’s website to read her follow-up blog post, 3 Things I Didn’t Have Time to Say in My TED Talk.

Read. Read. Repeat.

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Whether it was a program’s auto-correct or an online service like Grammarly, almost everyone has been saved from an embarrassing mistake once or twice thanks to digital proofreaders. But many people seem to have forgotten that proofreading is not the same as editing.

Proofreaders can improve the technical elements of your prose, but offer no help at all when it comes to the art of writing. They are not a shortcut to good writing; just another tool in your toolbox.

It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a short email, a 500-word blog post, or a novel. The same advice applies. Read your work. Read it slowly. And then read it again.

Read. Read. Repeat. It really is that simple.

All hat and no cattle.

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Are you delivering on your promises, or are you “all hat and no cattle?”

You’ve got their attention, but you won’t hold it for long without a strong foundation, solid business ethics, and awesome customer service.

There are a myriad of ways to say it… All shot and no powder. All sizzle and no steak. All wax and no wick. All mouth and no trousers.

But whether you’re talking about logo design, social media, or ad copy, the message is the same. Successful marketing requires a balance of both style and substance. You can’t rely on looks alone.

 

 

 

New year, new unitasker.

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Photo by ollyy (Shutterstock)

I never bother with New Year’s resolutions. However, I am a fan of self-improvement — especially through the act of incorporating subtle but effective changes such as with the practice of kaizen. I’m always searching for small ways to improve, and one simple way I am doing this is by letting go of my urge to multitask, and retraining my brain to become a laser-focused unitasker… or at least a little less scattered.

It’s no secret that master multitaskers are looked on in admiration by many. But much like with that badge of honor bestowed on overloaded professionals in today’s culture of busy, the correlation between our level of multitasking and our level of productivity may not be what you think.

Multitasking can make us feel like we’re being oh so efficient and getting so much done, but the truth of the matter is we’re deluding ourselves. In fact, several studies done in the last decade show that people who multitask are as much as 40% less productive, more easily distracted, and make more mistakes. Chronic multitaskers may even be permanently impairing their brain’s executive mental function.

But how do we quit multitasking when it makes us feel so fulfilled, so capable? Luckily, I’m not alone in my desire to regain control of my thoughts and attention. Founder and chief executive officer of THRUUE Daniel Patrick Forrester recently posited that when you stop multitasking, you “reimagine your relationship with thinking [and] allow room for your ideas to surface.” Indeed, I have found that just one small change has already helped me to become more mindful and less stressed, all while giving my creativity and productivity a slight but noticeable boost.

Research  shows that stress is significantly lowered by checking email only a few times each day. Plus, when constantly bombarded with messages from emails and phone calls to instant messages and notifications, people quickly lose focus as they begin switching their brain functions from one task to another.

To get started on my path towards a more zen workday, I made one simple change — the way I monitor my email. Instead of keeping a running tab on all those new messages, I set aside a block of time every couple of hours and spend that time doing only one thing — checking my emails.

It’s simple, but it’s true. Do less, and you’ll accomplish more. Next on my uni-task list? Take Forrester’s advice to remove “multitasking” from the skills section of my résumé, and replace it with “single-tasking thinker and leader.”

When good friends go bad.

Photo by samuiblue (freedigitalphotos.net)

Photo by samuiblue (freedigitalphotos.net)

In social media, even though a person may “like” you or be your “friend”, it doesn’t always mean they have your best interest in mind. For personal accounts, the process for blocking a Facebook user from “liking” you is simple, but when you have a business page with thousands of “likes”, it becomes very difficult to ban a specific user.

In order to do this, you have to view the entire list of people who have “liked” your page and then manually search for the right person. With only 50 additional name results showing up with each request to “show more”, Facebook has not made it at all easy.

Well, a client of mine was recently having trouble with a particular person and needed them removed. With more than 6,000 “likes” for her page, I knew I had to find an alternative way to remove the user.

Thankfully I did, and here it is: How To Ban Any User From Your Facebook Page

Don’t be scared off by the fact that you edit a little HTML – it is easy and gets the job done quickly. I couldn’t have asked for a better tutorial, but if you have another suggestion please share it with me!

I ♥ screen captures.

I apologize ahead of time for the fact that this post is only relevant to Mac users. That said, back to the main point – I ♥ screen captures.

If you don’t already know how to do a screen capture on your Mac, it’s quite easy. (But even if you do, keep reading – you just might learn something new.)

To save a PNG file of the entire screen to your desktop, push down Shift + Command + 3. To get crosshairs that allow you to drag and select a specified area, simply do Shift + Command + 4. I’ve been taking advantage of this highly useful feature for years but it has one major drawback – it is extremely easy to end up with tons of screen capture files on your desktop.

Sure you can just delete them later, but when I recently came across a way to just copy the image instead of save it I wondered why it hadn’t occurred to me sooner to look up a way to do so. Now, I only save the screen capture if I actually need to. Most of the time a simple copy and paste will do. And the magic set of keys to press? Well that’s easy – just add Control to the ones above and you’re good to go.

And for those of you who already knew all of that, maybe this last little piece of information will make reading this more worthwhile. Have you ever needed a quick and easy way to record a video of what’s happening on your screen? All you have to do is launch the QuickTime Player application and select New Screen Recording from the File drop down menu. Click on the red circle and you will be instructed on how to record all or part of your screen.

From software tutorials to technical support troubleshooting, there’s a multitude of uses for screen captures and recordings. For Windows users that need a little help, check out The Mystery of the PrtScn Key Revealed.